UN Advises Australia to Relax Visa Norms

The UN World Tourism Organisation has suggested that Australia relax visa norms for tourists from developing nations.

The organisation said that Australia could attract more tourists from emerging and developing nations, especially China and India, if it relaxes its visa norms. According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, Australia has a strict visa regime that is discouraging tourists from emerging nations.

Referring to Australia’s security concerns, the UN organisation’s secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, said that tough entry conditions did not always ensure security. He said that Australia and other developed countries should ease their tough visa regimes to attract more tourists.

According to ‘The Australian’, while speaking at a tourism conference in Melbourne, Rifai said, ‘Visas are becoming a real nightmare. It is not reasonable to still see long lines, very cumbersome, uneasy, complicated, lengthy, overpriced entry formalities all over the world, particularly facing nationals from countries that are rising and countries that are providing the base for future incoming tourists. There is no evidence to establish that there are close and very strong links between visas and security issues.’

He also observed that even though Chinese and Indian visitors have been contributing the most to the annual growth in tourism in the nation over the past decade, they had to face a number of bureaucratic hurdles. He said that those travelling to Australia for the first time had to provide bank statements or other financial information, as well as a letter from their employer, authenticating their identity and purpose of visit. If first timers were visiting relatives or friends, a copy of an invitation from the relative or friend in Australia may also be required.